Small Town, Big Film Fest

Kent becomes a star in movies festival

Kent. Quiet, quintessential Connecticut, except for one weekend out of the year. 

This year, it’s March 26-29 when horror, action, adventure, comedy and romance come to the quiet little town in the form of a film festival.

The Kent Film Festival is the pipe dream of Frank and Patrice Galterio. 
“I told my wife I wanted to have a film festival. She asked me, 'How you do that.' I said, 'I don’t know, let’s try it,'” Frank said.
And so it began.
“2006 was the first year. Some 400 people came, so I decided for the next year, two days isn’t enough, I said, let’s do four days. Patrice said 'OK.' And the next year was totally out of the ballpark,” Frank said. “We had two screens going all day for four days and we had a workshop. The third year was just out of the stadium. We had four screens, four different venue, and the filmmakers could just walk around the town.”
It continues to grow. This year, people are coming from as far away as China, Australia and Seattle
It’s great news for the local economy.
“Most of the people last year came from out of town. The restaurants were running out of food. The inns were all full,” he said.
In April, Frank said, Gov. M. Jodi Rell is presenting the film festival with an award acknowledging what it’s done for Kent. There’s no money attached to it, but then again, there’s not much money attached to the fest at all. 
Frank said he and his wife do it because it feels right.
“To really be true to the filmmakers in my initial mission, to give them a place where everybody can be honored on the same red carpet, it takes a lot,” he said. “I’m a filmmaker. I’ve been a photographer all my life. Young people need a gallery to show all of their films.”
More than 500 entries come into Frank and his wife for the film festival. Interestingly, he said, they seem to be a reflection on what’s going on in the world around us.
“A lot of what people send us is dark, gloomy, murderous stuff. It’s a sign of the times. We try and show a mix … bring in the light stuff,” he said. “This year we have a lot more dark entries than last year, so we’re showing a lot more documentaries. We’re showing a lot more of what we get.”
The festival will show a mix of documentaries, feature films and shorts.  
For more information on the festival or tickets, see the festival Web site.
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